5 weeks ago
Sunday, February 15, 2009
What is Nature, Anyway?
I have a confession to make.
I am an environmentalist, but I don't care much about "nature."
I put "nature" in quotes, because I have to be honest, I'm not sure what "nature" is. According to this dictionary, nature is defined as the world "as it exists without human beings."
Which leads me to wonder ... where does this "nature" exist?
Obviously, none of us will have seen it, right? Because if someone had seen it, it wouldn't exist without human beings?
It's that old tree falls down in the forest thing. If no one has seen it, and no one can see it, do we know it exists?
The truth is, human beings constantly interact with the world around us, in ways that we don't even know about sometimes. We interact with the world when we use face wash with plastic in it, we interact with the world when we set aside area for conservation, we interact with the world when we cull one species to save another ... or when we don't.
"Nature," is thus, somewhat ironically, an artificial concept.
So today, instead of celebrating nature, I'd like to celebrate our world as a whole. Some of it green and filled with trees, some of it is made of tall concrete buildings. But it is all of it ... our world. And I love every bit of this world, and its delights and imperfections, dearly.
Check out the APLS Carnival on February 20th at Green Phone Booth!